Undeniable and to be seen: The pleasure according to Her

by June Moon

All images by Mary / @mariannederson

Allyee AKA Jessica Rabbit is carrying a torch — Her body. She is an activist, sex worker, and artist leading Tramps Against Trump in the US. What do I see when I look at Her? Power. Presence. Warmth.

It’s 11 o’clock. I can’t hang around too long at this hour because all the men imagine what a nice girl like me is doing here, and I’m not sanctioned to speak as they’d think I was asking for it. What kind of girl am I, anyway? What do they see when they look at me? On what account must I be giving something away? I like engaging with my sexuality as a reference point for what I have say, and how I want to say it. But how can one avoid the danger of navigating sexual tensions through my art in this male-dominated world?

Allyee: There's no winning, it can be lose-lose. That’s what I've been really struggling with. We get criticized for being sexual, and then we're sexualized. We're so sexualized our whole lives and when you take it and empower yourself, it's like, ‘Oh, my God. You can't do that. You can only do that for us.’

It's so hard navigating that space, especially being an activist. I’ve had a lot of the activist community reject me because I’m engaging in sex. It’s so ironic! How do you win?! It shows how important it is to take that space back. Femme phobia is something I've been getting more and more into recently. Femme women are told that they're not serious. Women can be beautiful and sexy and powerful, it doesn't have to be one or the other. We've sexualized femmes and then don't allow them the space to be sexual themselves. For most people, sexuality generally defines a part of our life. Wherever you exist on the spectrum from asexual to sexual, figuring out how to express ourselves and communicate in our own mediums is super important in this repressed society.

I'm interested in making erotic art, but it doesn't mean I'm gonna have sex or be erotic for anyone. That’s putting someone in a sex worker role who's not even there, and making them make that decision without any context, background, control, or consent.

June Moon: An immense unveiling of my politics and my potential comes from the oppression of outside expectations.

My new hype is about not wanting to be equal to men. Men aren’t really acting like anything I want to resemble. I want to be better, I want to bring the bar up.
— Allyee

A: Sex work has been one of the most powerful things for me, because in this context I get to explore different things and take on different characters. It's helped me so much in my personal life, navigating different boundaries with new partners and figuring out what I want and what I don't like. Girl power has given me my whole; it's changed the game. I started really challenging femme-on-femme jealousy and bringing my women crew together. Consistently who's there for me and who gets me is my girls, my women, my mom. Realizing that women are my peoples, and speak my language. They know what I'm going through.

JM: Another valuable reference point that has been an anchor in conversations among women is our learned and enforced girl hate. It’s so not our truth. We want to be surrounded by each other and supporting each other all the time. There's an uprising as we claim this space together.

A: It's amazing to see girl jealousy taking a centre spotlight in feminist and activist circles. I'm a polyamorous person and jealousy is super hard for me (lol), but I'm really thinking about what I’m so scared of. Looking into myself, I'm scared that I'm not enough, that I'm not pretty or cool enough. I think there's a sea of beautiful, powerful, smart women, because we have to be! Connecting and finding these women all over the world, and building this community together across boundary lines has been so good for me.

JM: There's this sense of urgency — we're all exhausted. Sometimes I can't breathe. I can't do this anymore. I can't live like this.

A: I get put into the man-hating feminist box a lot, [and] I don't hate men, but I do like using extreme tongue-in-cheek examples for comedic effect, or to help people critically think. My new hype is about not wanting to be equal to men. Men aren't really acting like anything I want to resemble. I want to be better, I want to bring the bar up. I think equality to men is a way to cater to men, and feminism in that way fails me. We can all do so much better.

JM: I like that a lot.

A: I know actual man-hating feminists who put me onto that [category], but they also come from much more abusive backgrounds, and I understand their anger. People who don't understand their anger aren't understanding the wounds that they hold and the trauma that they hold that produces that anger. I think that anger is justified. A lot of women in this world have varying experiences with abuse, and the anger produced from that is valid on any spectrum.

Once you see, it doesn't go away. Take space and time to take care of yourself, because activism on any level is super exhausting emotionally, intellectually, and spiritually.

Allyee is an activist, sex worker and artist living in Brooklyn. Get involved with Tramps Against Trump and follow Her on Instagram.

June Moon is a poet, performer and provocateur. Listen to Her music and follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.